The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is open to traffic today, but a S.C. Department of Transportation inspection found heavy ice on the bridge’s cables.
State and city officials urged people to stay off the roadways today and to use extreme caution if they must drive somewhere. During a 2014 ice storm, large pieces of ice fell from the Ravenel’s cables onto cars below, creating unsafe conditions for drivers and resulting in a several-day bridge closure.
“We will monitor throughout the day and coordinate any closures with law enforcement,” the DOT said this morning. “All counties throughout the district are actively addressing road and bridge conditions.”
Interstates 95, 526 and 26 are all seeing delays caused by ice. DOT has updated closures and conditions available on its website.
The Lowcountry received around 4 to 5 inches of snow in many areas yesterday — an unusual amount for the coastal communities. The East Coast continues to get pummeled by winter storms, producing blizzard conditions in the Northeast.
The Lowcountry can expect lows in the upper teens to lower 20s today, causing the snow and ice to remain frozen on roads. The National Weather Service said to anticipate black ice and cold wind chills.
Temperatures have warmed above freezing this afternoon, but officials advise residents to stay off the roads to avoid “extremely dangerous travel conditions.”
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey declared a state of emergency for the city as of noon today, until further notice. Residents are required to stay off the roads unless they need medical care or food. The declaration does not apply to public servants; utility, medical and military workers; and the media.
Charleston is maintaining a list of road closures. City officials urged people to avoid driving but to drive very slowly and leave extra room between vehicles if driving is necessary.
The runways at Charleston International Airport remain closed this afternoon as a result of 5 inches of snow and ice cover. Inspectors deemed the runways and taxiways unsafe for normal operations.
Airport officials say they do not yet know when operations will resume but said pavement conditions are monitored regularly. Updates will be made on Twitter. Flight updates from individual airlines are also available.
“The safety of our passengers, airlines and airport workers is our top priority as Charleston International Airport works to recover from the Jan. 3, 2018, winter storm,” Paul Campbell Jr., CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority, said in a statement. “Pavement conditions make travel dangerous for workers and for aircraft to safely take off and land. As soon as it is safe, we will resume normal operations.”
Operations at Port of Charleston terminals resumed at 1 p.m. Gates at North Charleston and Wando Welch terminals will run until 6 p.m. for truck drivers, with the last truck in the gate by 5:30 p.m. The port is providing updates on Twitter.